What “Friends” Would Survive “The Walking Dead?”


We had so much fund deciding who from The Office would survive The Walking Dead that we decided to give it another go.

The beloved characters from our favorite 90’s show grew up in the same world we occupy. It was safe, a little spunky, and somewhat predictable. No one gave death a second thought, and certainly no one had to plan an evacuation route in case of some sort of apocalypse, namely a zombie apocalypse. But, in the case of Friends, how would the characters reacted to the threat of a zombie invasion such as in The Walking Dead? Read on to find out.

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How I Met Your … Friends?


So I’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother for the first time ever. I’m halfway through season 4, and I love the show. Where has it been all my life? Oh, just right there on my TV but I never bothered to give it a try until Netflix decided to be awesome.

I grew up on Friends, and other than The Fresh Prince, that was my go-to show. (I actually secretly call it The Ross and Chandler Show since I seriously cannot get enough of those two. I mean, Ross getting a spray-on tan – classic.)

maxresdefaultIn many ways the shows are identical. You’ve got the group of friends nearly divided equally between guys and girls. Two side characters get hitched. One of the guys is a playboy who can land any girl he wants (and does). And then you’ve got the main guy on each show (face it, everything revolves around Ross as much as it does Ted), who wants nothing more than to settle down, but just can’t seem to find the time or woman to do it with (which is ironic, because there’s really not many guys like that, so you’d think the girls would flock all over them). There’s Central Perk vs. MacLaren’s; New York/New York (see what I did there?); the guys can’t fight; it’s all about sex; always guaranteed a good time (see what I did there, too?).

The biggest difference I see in the two shows is that the storytelling strengths are there in How I Met Your Mother as the endless laugh-out-loud moments overflow from Friends.

So unless Mother tanks next season (which most shows do around season 5, except for Friends, which held a fairly level streak through all ten seasons), I’m going to be forced to decide which show is better.

That’s like having to choose vanilla or chocolate. Or an eggnog frappuccino or a gingerbread frappuccino (I don’t like hot drinks).

It’ll be like having to choose a favorite child.

So! I want to hear from you all. Am I in for a good time for the duration of Mother, or should I brace for a crash-landing like so many beloved sitcoms tend to succumb to?

It seems to me the writers must have had the ending in mind when they wrote the pilot. Something to do with a yellow umbrella? So do me a favor and let me know what I’m in for, whether that be in the form of hyping or warning.

What Makes “The Walking Dead” So Great?


I know I’m late in the game by about six years, but thanks to Netflix I just got hooked on The Walking Dead. I don’t know why I’ve put it off for so many years, to tell  the truth. I like zombies, I adore suspense… maybe because I have yet to watch a major drama series that’s held my attention for more than a few seasons… I still haven’t finished Lost.

But, crap, I’m a couple of episodes into season 2 of TWD, and I am severely impressed, and officially hooked. The tension is thick enough for me to have to swim if I need to get up for a potty break. The character development is spot on, the pacing is never too slow or too fast.

But what makes the show great isn’t the gore or the horrific monsters wandering the earth. In fact, that’s probably why I’ve put the show off for so long, because I’m easily turned off by gore and blood and guts. And this show has tons of it, mind you. But I realized that it’s never there just for show. It’s there to serve a purpose for the greater story, and it serves it well. The way a war movie has plenty of guts and intestines in order to highlight the gravity of the war’s hell.

But what makes TWD captivating and a well-baited fish hook, is the show’s vast dynamics of characters. Each person from a different walk of life, contributing to a different demographic, representing different beliefs about God and the world as they know it.

No one is completely good or completely bad.

They’re all human. And they’re all just trying to survive this plague.

Sarabeth and I were just discussing the other night, what’s more important in a story? The plot or the characters?

I believe it’s the plot that reels us in. It’s the characters that keep us there. So they are both equally important.

As with The Walking Dead, I want to see how these characters will cope with the travesties heaped on them and how their relationships with one another will either strengthen or break them apart.

Are there any other Walking fans? Am I in for a continual good time to the end? And as you watch or read your favorite stories, ask yourself, “What is keeping me hooked?” Is it the story or is the characters?

Read the first installment of the exciting new serial blog: The Underneath

What Will You Be Watching This Fall?


It’s that time of year where everyone’s favorite shows premier and new ones take off in hopes of flying. Sarabeth and I usually only follow a couple shows at a time, but lose interest most of the time (or it just gets too inappropriate and we have to make an executive decision to stop while we’re ahead). The only shows we’ve followed religiously are The Office (yes, even through the last two seasons – but the finale was way worth the trouble), and Downton Abbey. But we don’t get to see the new season till January. (Thanks, BBC.) 

But there is one other show that I think stands above the rest, and of which I’ve never felt such a strong connection to the characters. The great Ron Howard produces the spinoff to his 1989 film, Parenthood. NBC puts it out, and its fifth season starts in just one week from today (September 26th).

It’s a show that focusses on the family unit. Adam Braverman, the lead character, is a role model for many husbands and dads. Mind you, he has his many slip-ups, but his actions aren’t followed by a laugh-track or a blooper reel.

Like all of the characters, the consequences of his actions follow him many many episodes into the season. It is a realistic show in that nothing is easily solved, or brushed under the rug. The family must learn to deal with their problems, and in many episodes it gets very ugly and may even hit close to home for many viewers, thus a little difficult to watch, as it is most of the time for Sarabeth.

There is a family unit for everyone to relate to. You have the grandparents who are trying not to interfere with their grown-children’s lives, and dealing with years of marital problems of their own. There’s the faithful middle-class couple with three kids: a college-bound young lady, an autistic adolescent, and a newborn. There’s the couple who can’t have a kid of their own, so they are struggling through the trials of adoption. There’s the wayward daughter who feels like she can’t raise her kids without a man in her life. And there’s the wayward son who’s learning how to be a father to his little boy whose entire life he missed out on.

I can’t recommend this show highly enough, though I strongly recommend watching it when the kids are in bed due to some intense scenes, and some sensuality. It will remind you that you’re not alone in your struggles, but you also can’t ignore them, either. It’s the only show I’m really anticipating this fall, and well worth the time to invest in.

Have you seen Parenthood? Share your thoughts! Are you pumped for season five?

Office Romance

tumblr_m3gr49WKbX1qgqc9no2_r1_500Alright, I promise this is my last post about The Office for a while. But everyone, whether you’re a fan of the show or not needs to read this.

You’ll remember a post I did for Valentine’s day this year about true love at the movies. Among the few that made the list, Pam and Jim Halpert from The Office were given honorable mention.

I’ve always said that just because a movie or show ends in a wedding or engagement, doesn’t mean it’s a happy ending. I’ve written about this on a post called “Marriage – A Beginning, Not an End.”

When questioned about their struggling marriage that has just been watched in the fictional documentary, Pam’s response is pitch perfect.

“When the documentary started airing, people on the street told me I had this fairy tale romance. But there were a lot of times last year where it did not feel like a fairy tale. But then it got deeper, and stronger, and now it’s better than a fairy tale. It’s like a long book that you never want to end. And you’re fine with that because you just never ever want to leave it.”

I’m proud to announce that Christianity Today feels the same way many of us do about Pam and Jim’s fictional relationship. It’s nice to see your ultimate favorite show condoned in a Christian magazine:

For me, it wasn’t love at first sight. The first time I ever watched The Office, the scenes felt awkward and the staff of Dunder Mifflin seemed weird. But it didn’t take long before I fell for those quirky characters, and I’ve been watching ever since.

Sure, The Office has been through its ups and downs (most notably, the departure of Steve Carrell as Michael Scott), but in its ninth and final season the show has gained momentum by way of two characters whose relationship hooked us from the very beginning: Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly.

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“There’s a Lot of Beauty in Ordinary Things”

pamspaintingWaking up. Morning routines. Commute. Coffee breaks. Homework.

These are all ordinary things. None of which will ever be the topic of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

We all have ordinary routines strung throughout our days. And more often than not, they can grow redundant, monotonous, and just plain boring.

That’s why a lot of us turn to other vices in order to shake things up a bit.

Last night I was lucky to get off work early enough to make it home in time to watch the finale of The Office with Sarabeth. Ironically, it was the first time we’d ever seen our favorite show on NBC the night of its airing.

My mini-review of it is at the bottom of this post.

The last line of the show was Pam’s words: “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”

Sarabeth and I used to commute to work together, and though that got ordinary after a while, I still missed it when we no longer could do that.

When I took a job that required me to be there at 4 a.m., the first day I left was really sad for us because we could no longer have our routine breakfast together.

Our case study worker made her second visit night before last and she is going to recommend us for approval with the state! That doesn’t mean we’re approved yet, as they’re still waiting on some out-of-state paper work, but let’s just say we went ahead and ordered a pack-n-play and will be picking it up in a week or so!

But I am sure the novelty of having a child in the house will wear off at some point, and I’m sure I’ll grow tired of waking up every ten minutes to rock him or her back to sleep, and those things too, will become routine.

But may I heed the legacy that The Office left behind in our home, and remember that there’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.

I’ve been trying to capture and remember those seemingly dull moments, because I know they won’t last.

Just this morning I found myself just standing outside the bathroom staring at our four year old puppy. She was just sitting there, staring back at me. It was dull and ordinary, but it was special. (Of course, Sarabeth had no idea what I was doing, so she ran over to give Pixie a hug and said I was just being weird, acting like a creeper/stalker… I captured that, too.)

So moral of the story is, people might think you’re weird, like pulling a George Banks at every sentimental or inconspicuous moment. But when you start shifting through memory lane down the end of your road, I doubt you’ll regret taking so many mental snapshots of your daily life.

The Office - Season 9NOW… about last night’s final episode: “Spoiler alert.”

All I can say is two words: Michael Scott.

He came back! Like a lost dog whom we’ve missed for so long. And it was perfect – absolutely perfect – that he only had two lines in the whole episode. It showed me that his character was so developed that even in his two year absence, he grew and matured. He no longer found his identity in front of the camera… He had matured and grew wiser in Colorado (our dream state) – and he has kids!!

As far as the rest of the episode goes, I think it went smoothly. It wasn’t quite Return of the King great, but as far as wrapping everything up and bringing each character to its closing, I felt like it was very satisfactory, and I was left with no questions.

Oh, and I’d like to point out the irony, that in yesterday’s blog post I mentioned how the finale would be like the actual burial of the show, and Dwight and Angela stood in their graves to be married. Thought that was kind of funny.

And I love that they danced to the Cars 2 theme song. With the exception of Brave, The Office has made a reference to every Pixar film. Yes, I’ve personally verified that myself.

All-in-all, Michael Scott’s two little lines cracked us up, and were funnier than the entire last season put together. But it was very well worth the wait.

Even as a writer, it’s not possible for me to put into words how much I will miss this show, and how happy I was to see Michael Scott one last time.